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Ludlow Police Chief Wants Better Dialogue on Race Relations, Policing

98.5 percent of Ludlow, Kentucky's population is made up of white people, but this Northern Kentucky River City's police chief believes it is important do discuss community relations, race relations, and the Black Lives Matter movement within his own ranks, and throughout the region.

Chief Scott Smith, on the job for just over a year now, put together a forum last week and invited other local police departments to participate. Representatives from the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People spoke.

"There's a lot going on in the country today concerning race relations and i think a lot of confusion between different races and the police, and I just wanted to get some open and honest discussion that wasn't driven by one specific group," Smith told The River City News on the RCN podcast (published below and available for free download). It's being proactive, the chief said, to anticipate potential trouble before it happens. "These cities are growing and they are bringing in more people. Instead of sitting back and waiting for something bad to happen, I think we need to start addressing more issues that we recognize on our end and in our communities so that if something were to break off in two, three, five years, we have a better grasp."

Some of the local departments he reached out to noted that Smith's department and community are heavily white. "That was the first thing they said to me," Smith said. The chief said that he felt that he would be in "a perfect position" to host such a discussion because his community makes him more neutral in the discussion.

Chief Smith goes into detail about why police officers struggle with the conversation about Black Lives Matter and more issues, in this conversation with RCN's Michael Monks:

Photo: Ludlow Police Chief Scott Smith delivers presents at Christmas (RCN file)